2. Charles Bukowski
  3. 06/11/2017

“I do not like the human race. I don’t like their heads, I don’t like their faces, I don’t like their feet, I don’t like their conversations, I don’t like their hairdos, I don’t like their automobiles.”

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Quotes by Charles Bukowski

Quotes by Charles Bukowski

  1. A cat is only itself, representative of the strong forces of life that won’t let go.
  2. Almost everybody is born a genius and buried an idiot.
  3. An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.
  4. Bad taste creates many more millionaires than good taste.
  5. Between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four, I must have read a whole library.
  6. Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can’t vent any anger against them; I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence.
  7. Early on, when I was quite young and going from job to job, I was foolish enough to sometimes speak to my fellow workers: ‘Hey, the boss can come in here at any moment and lay all of us off, just like that, don’t you realize that?’ They would just look at me. I was posing something that they didn’t want to enter their minds.
  8. Even though I write about the human race, the further away from them, the better I feel. Two miles is great; two thousand miles is beautiful.
  9. Generally, a writer of force is anywhere from 20 years to 200 years ahead of his generation.
  10. Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.
  11. Having a bunch of cats around is good. If you’re feeling bad, you just look at the cats, you’ll feel better because they know that everything is just as it is. There’s nothing to get excited about. They just know. They’re saviours.
  12. Humanity, you never had it to begin with.
  13. I am a dangerous man when turned loose with a typewriter.
  14. I can relax with bums because I am a bum. I don’t like laws, morals, religions, rules. I don’t like to be shaped by society.
  15. I do not like the human race. I don’t like their heads, I don’t like their faces, I don’t like their feet, I don’t like their conversations, I don’t like their hairdos, I don’t like their automobiles.
  16. I don’t like jail, they got the wrong kind of bars in there.
  17. I don’t like the clean-shaven boy with the necktie and the good job. I like desperate men, men with broken teeth and broken minds and broken ways. They interest me. They are full of surprises and explosions.
  18. I don’t write so much now. I’m getting on 33, pot belly and creeping dementia.
  19. I have no definite talent or trade, and how I stay alive is largely a matter of magic.
  20. I have not worked out my poems with a careful will, falling rather on haphazard and blind formulation of wordage, a more flowing concept, in a hope for a more new and lively path. I do personalize at times, but this only for the grace and elan of the dance.
  21. I kept writing not because I felt I was so good, but because I felt they were so bad, including Shakespeare, all those. The stilted formalism, like chewing cardboard.
  22. I only type every third night. I have no plan. My mind is a blank. I sit down. The typewriter gives me things I don’t even know I’m working on. It’s a free lunch. A free dinner. I don’t know how long it is going to continue, but so far there is nothing easier than writing.
  23. I used to live on one candy bar a day – it cost a nickel. I always remember the candy bar was called Payday. That was my payday. And that candy bar tasted so good, at night I would take one bite, and it was so beautiful.
  24. I would be married, but I’d have no wife, I would be married to a single life.
  25. If I write badly about blacks, homosexuals and women, it is because of these who I met were that. There are many ‘bads’ – bad dogs, bad censorship; there are even ‘bad’ white males. Only, when you write about ‘bad’ white males, they don’t complain about it. And need I say that there are ‘good’ blacks, ‘good’ homosexuals and ‘good’ women?
  26. If you want to know who your friends are, get yourself a jail sentence.
  27. If you’re losing your soul and you know it, then you’ve still got a soul left to lose.
  28. In my work, as a writer, I only photograph, in words, what I see.
  29. It’s possible to love a human being if you don’t know them too well.
  30. It’s when you begin to lie to yourself in a poem in order to simply make a poem, that you fail.
  31. Joan of Arc had style. Jesus had style.
  32. Most poets are young simply because they have not been caught up. Show me an old poet, and I’ll show you, more often than not, either a madman or a master… it’s when you begin to lie to yourself in a poem in order simply to make a poem that you fail. That is why I do not rework poems.
  33. Much publishing is done through politics, friends, and natural stupidity.
  34. My days, my years, my life has seen up and downs, lights and darknesses. If I wrote only and continually of the ‘light’ and never mentioned the other, then as an artist, I would be a liar.
  35. My love is a hummingbird sitting that quiet moment on the bough, as the same cat crouches.
  36. My writing is jagged and harsh, I want it to remain that way; I don’t want it smoothed out.
  37. Never envy a man his lady. Behind it all lays a living hell.
  38. Never get out of bed before noon.
  39. Shakespeare didn’t work at all for me.
  40. Show me a man who lives alone and has a perpetually clean kitchen, and 8 times out of 9 I’ll show you a man with detestable spiritual qualities.
  41. Some people never go crazy, What truly horrible lives they must live.
  42. Somebody once asked me what my theory of life was, and I said, ‘Don’t try.’ That fits the writing, too. I don’t try; I just type.
  43. Sometimes I’ve called writing a disease. If so, I’m glad that it caught me.
  44. The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.
  45. The female loves to play man against man. And if she is in a position to do it, there is not one who will resist.
  46. The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it – basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.
  47. The male, for all his bravado and exploration, is the loyal one, the one who generally feels love. The female is skilled at betrayal and torture and damnation.
  48. The more cats you have, the longer you live. If you have a hundred cats, you’ll live 10 times longer than if you have 10. Someday this will be discovered, and people will have a thousand cats and live forever. It’s truly ridiculous.
  49. The thing that I fear discriminating against is humor and truth.
  50. There are women who can make you feel more with their bodies and their souls, but these are the exact women who will turn the knife into you right in front of the crowd. Of course, I expect this, but the knife still cuts.
  51. There will always be something to ruin our lives, it all depends on what or which finds us first. We are always ripe and ready to be taken.
  52. Those who have been writing literature have not been writing life.
  53. To do a dull thing with style-now that’s what I call art.
  54. To not to have entirely wasted one’s life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself.
  55. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.
  56. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our education system.
  57. We have wasted History like a bunch of drunks shooting dice back in the men’s crapper of the local bar.
  58. We’re all going to die, all of us; what a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities. We are eaten up by nothing.
  59. What my character is or how many jails I have lounged in, or wards or walls or wassails, how many lonely-heart poetry readings I have dodged, is beside the point. A man’s soul or lack of it will be evident with what he can carve upon a white sheet of paper.
  60. When I say that basically writing is a hard hustle, I don’t mean that it is a bad life, if one can get away with it. It’s the miracle of miracles to make a living by the typer.
  61. When I worked on a magazine, I learned that there are many, many writers writing that can’t write at all; and they keep on writing all the cliches and bromides and 1890 plots, and poems about Spring and poems about Love, and poems they think are modern because they are done in slang or staccato style, or written with all the ‘i’s’ small.
  62. When I write, when I’m going hot, I don’t want to write more than four hours in a row. After that, you’re pushing it.
  63. When everything works best, it’s not because you chose writing but because writing chose you. It’s when you’re mad with it, it’s when it’s stuffed in your ears, your nostrils, under your fingernails. It’s when there’s no hope but that.
  64. Writers have to put up with this editor thing; it is ageless and eternal and wrong.
  65. You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.
  66. You can do without a woman but not a typewriter.